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Cutting contact with alcoholic mother

Old 04-14-2017, 01:37 AM
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Cutting contact with alcoholic mother

I've been lurking on these boards for a long time and the posts here have helped me so much. I've finally gathered up the courage to post!

My mother has been an alcoholic for years, but in the last 3 years things have really spiralled. In that time my dad left her, she lost her job because she was caught drinking in work and she's moved out of the family home.

She was in a community recovery programme but never really seemed to fully commit to it, she would turn up every day and then we're pretty sure she would go home and drink, but there was a level of control. She went completely off the rails about 8 weeks ago and would sit at home drinking all day and night, and would call and text me at all hours begging for help to get sober. She would also send semi-suicidal texts, but I honestly believe this was attention seeking, she knew it would get a reaction from me and I would drop whatever I was doing and start trying to contact her to make sure she was ok.

One morning she woke up to find she had gone into withdrawal and was suffering from hallucinations and severe tremors. As a result she underwent a week long emergency detox in hospital. Within 4 days of her release she was drinking heavily again.

Her social worker has prescribed campral last week but I've got no idea if she has actually started to take it.

Recently I have been trying to put myself first, I've been limiting contact with her to a phone call once a week and have started blocking her number when she starts the drunken phone calls and texts.

I feel guilty because I'm the last person she had left, everyone else walked away a long time ago. Part of me really hopes that me distancing myself will shock her into change, but I know this is unrealistic, she's lost so much up until now that surely she's already hit bottom!

I love my mum so much and would do anything to have her back in my life, but I also know this is her battle to fight and that I can't do it for her. I worry that at times I've been enabling her, by trying to patch up the damage her behaviour has caused to other relationships in her life

I guess I just need some reassurance, am I doing the right thing by limiting contact? How do I deal with the guilt if something terrible happens while we're not in contact?
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:04 AM
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Hi

Welcome and hugs.

There is a forum for adult children of alcoholics. If you have not tried it please have a look. I believe you would need support from those in a similar situation and therefore it being more helpful. All the best, Tjunction.
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:55 AM
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Hi, Beth. Welcome. You are right. This is your mothere's choice and her journey.
I would try not to feel guilty about cutting off contact. I know that's tough.
Have you gone to Al-Anon? Could be helpful.
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Old 04-14-2017, 04:30 AM
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Beth,
Welcome, glad you found us. Sorry for the pain your mother has caused you. Yes sometimes we have to step away from our addict, to protect ourselves. They say that we need to put on our oxygen mask first.

I would also recommend alanon or open aa meetings. Have you tried an addiction therapist for support? At some point you realize you can't save her, but you have to save yourself. Work on you, and your life will slowly get better, for her, I'm not so sure.

Keep posting, and reading all over this forum. There is a lot of knowledge in these walls. Hugs my friend, we do understand what it is like to love an addict.
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:01 AM
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Thank you all for being so nice, I really needed some kind words today

I've been looking into al anon, reading up online and starting to try to put it into practice but haven't attended a meeting yet, I think I'm putting it off because I'm nervous about going (I know how silly that sounds!).

I've not spoken to a therapist yet, but again, this would help me get my thoughts straight so I will look into it and see if I can afford to do this.

The community rehab that my mum attends runs a family support thing, I was meant to be getting referred to that so will chase it up.

I know in my head that distancing myself is the right thing to do, I guess I'm just struggling with the fact that it's painful to do, I know I can't save her but there's always that voice in the back of my head saying "what if doing x or y would work" rationally, I know it won't but it doesn't make it any easier to come to terms with that.

She sounds so scared and desperate when I speak to her sometimes it just breaks my heart and I want to save her from that, it's so difficult knowing that I can't
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:08 AM
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No you can't save her - it sounds like she is hell-bent on self-destruction, and enabling her behavior will do no good in the end. As I learned the hard way, I had to want this for myself. Fortunately I didn't have to lose family or friends or job over it, but I didn't want to take that chance, either. I am grateful that all the above have stuck by me, but it's because I did what was best for me.

Prayers and strength - stay connected on here - it's been great for me.
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by grayghost1965 View Post
No you can't save her - it sounds like she is hell-bent on self-destruction, and enabling her behavior will do no good in the end. As I learned the hard way, I had to want this for myself. Fortunately I didn't have to lose family or friends or job over it, but I didn't want to take that chance, either. I am grateful that all the above have stuck by me, but it's because I did what was best for me.

Prayers and strength - stay connected on here - it's been great for me.

Thanks, the forums here have helped me find my way through this so far. It's so helpful to have someone reassure you that it's ok to put yourself first, and that it doesn't make you a bad person. It's nice to be able to talk with people who understand what I'm going through. I'm glad that you managed to turn things around for yourself

I've had to block her number because she's been sending me all sorts of manipulative attention seeking craziness today. I've not been responding which I think has wound her up more so things have just escalated. It hurts to do that, but I can't change what she's going through just now and for the sake of my own sanity I need a break from it
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Old 04-14-2017, 11:16 AM
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Sounds to me like you have a pretty good handle on what you need to do for the moment (focus on yourself). I know it's hard to be strong when someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, but there really isn't a whole lot you can do for them. They have to want it and do it themselves. Taking good care of yourself right now is the best thing you can do for your mother.
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Old 04-14-2017, 01:27 PM
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Take care. Going NC with my mom was the worst, mainly because society just figures as a daughter it's your responsibility to be there for her. Never mind that she didn't raise me. Never mind that she has a son that she DID raise. I'm the daughter, it's my responsibility. Her friends and some extended family were so abusive to me I had to block phone numbers and Facebook and start seeing a therapist. But, once that was all done it was FREEDOM and I was able to start getting my head straightened out and the anxiety levels went way down. She didn't want help she wanted an enabler. Sad. Stay strong and take care of yourself.
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Old 04-14-2017, 01:34 PM
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BTW as someone else mentioned, the ACoA forum in this same section is full of us people that have had to go NC with a parent. Take a look, lots of good info.
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ajarlson View Post
Take care. Going NC with my mom was the worst, mainly because society just figures as a daughter it's your responsibility to be there for her. Never mind that she didn't raise me. Never mind that she has a son that she DID raise. I'm the daughter, it's my responsibility. Her friends and some extended family were so abusive to me I had to block phone numbers and Facebook and start seeing a therapist. But, once that was all done it was FREEDOM and I was able to start getting my head straightened out and the anxiety levels went way down. She didn't want help she wanted an enabler. Sad. Stay strong and take care of yourself.
Yeah I think the mother/daughter aspect is one of the things I'm struggling with, up until this we were so close so it's a bit like losing a friend as well as my mum. I guess I'm lucky that she did raise me and was a good parent until a few years ago and by that point I was an adult living away from home so could distance myself from it a bit (or more honestly, bury my head in the sand for a while longer).

Everyone else in her life has already walked away, so on the one hand it means I'm not getting any grief because they've all made the same decision a while ago, but on the other hand makes it harder because I'm struggling with the fact that this leaves her with no one.

The thing is she has begged for help in the past and when she got it within days she was back to drinking heavily and begging for help again

I have been through months worth of posts on this and the acoa forum, it has helped me so much already
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:41 AM
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Beth...she hasn't lost you....you still love her and you want the best for her....
You didn't leave her....she leaves you for the alcohol....
Don't let the (false) guilt get to you....
To stop enabling her is the best and only thing you can do...
You can't help her.....it takes someone who is outside the inner circle to do that...Like AA...sponsor....therapist....

My heart goes out to you.
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:35 PM
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I went no contact with my mom for 3 years. Then, I had a list of "forbidden" behaviors. If she committed one, I'd walk out of my visit on the spot. She tested me once, and when I followed out on my promise our relationship really took off. It wasn't all flowers and candy but the last few years before her death were fantastic! Why? I had done a lot of soul searching over those 3 years and found out who I was.
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Beth260 View Post
... this leaves her with no one....
This phrase stood out for me. What leaves her with no one is her own actions and decisions, not yours.

There are many different levels of "no contact". The objective is to prevent harm to your as well as not enable the addict/alkie. What I did is when my Mother called high as a kite I would just hang up. But when she called and sounded like maybe she was in some kind of withdrawls I would call 911 to do a "health check" on her. My Father, on the other hand, was completely offensive and a physcial danger to my kids so him I cut off completely.

Where you find the balance for your specific needs may take some experimenting. You can always change your mind and loosen or tighten the rules as needed.

Mike
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Old 04-18-2017, 01:33 PM
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Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply, I really do appreciate it

She is part of an outpatient rehab, but has stopped going and has stopped with the AA meetings as well (although she lies to us and pretends she is going to these). She's never had a sponsor as far as I'm aware

Things have escalated very badly in the last few weeks to the point where I've been forced to cut contact completely now. If I don't then she's just constantly trying to pull me in to her drama. She's constantly threatening to harm herself (emergency services are involved whenever she does), but it's just too much to deal with

I'm in the process of arranging therapy for myself, hopefully I won't need to wait too long

I was hoping I could set boundaries and only speak to her when she's sober but the problem is that right now she wakes up, gets drunk, stays topped up all day and then passes out in the evening and wakes up the next day to repeat the whole thing again. On the rare occasion I speak to her and she's sober, she just feeds me a pack of lies about how well she's doing, gives me false hope and then within a few hours the truth comes out and I'm left feeling angry. I feel bad because I was quite angry with her when I told her I was going to block her number, I've never really shown my anger to her before, but I'm telling myself that only one angry outburst at her over the years is probably good going! (Even if I know it won't achieve anything)
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:44 AM
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(((((((hugs)))))))) I've been there. Had to go complete NC, partly because she didn't care about my boundaries and partly because I was in no emotional or mental shape to try and enforce them. I am getting stronger thanks to counseling and distance.
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